With the end of the season looming, the Colorado Avalanche are looking to string together a complete performance from night to night, but on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues, that campaign fell short thanks to a fiery third period from the visitors at the Pepsi Center, 4-2.

“I thought our guys played really hard tonight on both ends of the rink,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “We came out jumping and a lot of good chances. [Calvin Pickard] was good in the net and we missed on a couple opportunities there in the second period.”

On the season, the Avalanche fell to 20-49-3 as the playoff-hunting Blues improve to 39-28-5.

“I thought both goalies played well tonight,” defenseman Mark Barberio said. “It was a battle. They’re a hungry team right now, they play hungry, and it was a tough game.”

All during the contest, both goalies battled to come out on top as the two endured a combined 57 shots, but only Blues goalie Jake Allen came out on top.

Throughout the first period, the Avs played well all over the ice as they commanded the puck and benefited from an early goal from center John Mitchell, who also played his hand in the Avs’ only other goal with an assist. In the second, the Blues ramped up the intensity and equalized the contest with a late goal from Patrik Berglund.

“It’s always nice when you can come in and give the team a goal and get started in the right direction at the beginning of the game,” Mitchell said. “But at the end of the day, you want wins.”

From start to finish, both teams battled on offense and defense with relatively equal intensity, but the scale ultimately tipped just enough in favor of the Blues.

“I thought we were pretty hungry ourselves in tonight’s game,” Barberio said. “They got some momentum off their powerplays in the third shortly after the kill, got two quick goals. I still think we battled until the end, and it’s a tough loss when we played hard.”

From there on out, however, almost nothing went Colorado’s way as St. Louis’ Magnus Paajarvi and Jaden Schwartz netted back-to-back scores in a matter of three and a half minutes. Almost.

With the clock running down to the wire and the Avalanche getting desperate, Barberio stepped up in an attempt to be the hero of the night, as he snuck his second goal of the season past Allen to make things interesting again.

“I think anytime you score a goal, the whole team gets a boost of momentum, especially when we cut it down to a one-goal lead, and there’s a chance to tie it up,” Barberio said. “We were pushing forward, and it was a good goal, big goal.”

Four minutes later, Berglund struck again as he put the final nail in the coffin for the Avalanche on an empty net. Excluding the defensive breakdown in the final period, the Avalanche played far different on offense and defense from earlier in the season, for the better.

“(Things changed) in the third period, obviously,” Mitchell said. “The first two periods we played well, then the third period rolls around and they score that one as soon as the power play expires.”

Now, they have to maintain that effort over the next 10 games and produce some wins if they want to finish the season strong. The Avs return to their home ice on Thursday, March 23, as they host the Edmonton Oilers at 7p.m.